Did he think the Governing Body was?
Was Michael Joseph Jackson inspired by God? If by “inspired” you mean like Bible writers, absolutely not. He’d tell you that himself if he were here. Was he inspired by life to give the world a brightness it sorely lacked? Most definitely! Did the Gloved One think the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses was inspired in the same way as ancient writers of the Bible were? Certainly not! In fact, he felt that the message found in Witness literature (or any literature claiming to reflect the teachings of the Bible), should be measured against what the Bible itself says. This is precisely what the Beroeans did in the first century.
Assessing an Apostle: Although there were other “apostles” selected after the death of Jesus Christ, Paul was the only one handpicked by the resurrected Lord–in dramatic fashion at that–to serve in that capacity. (Acts 1:23-26; 9:3-8; 13:1-4; 14:4, 14; 20:24; 22:6-11; 26:12-18; 1 Corinthians 9:4-6) When he and Silas preached as God’s representatives to Jews in the ancient city of Beroea, the Beroeans–who already worshipped God–“searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” (Acts 17:11, New Living Translation) Irrespective of Paul’s extraordinary background as a divinely chosen apostle, the Beroeans checked the Bible “day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth”! These daily checks were labor intensive.
The Beroeans didn’t have the Bible in book form as we do today. They had Old Testament or Hebrew Bible scrolls of various sizes and weights, some of them heavy and bulky, and none of them containing chapter and verse divisions. After work, they poured over the writings, either by daylight or lamplight, tediously searching for quotes referenced by Paul and Silas. Then, they’d go home; eat; fall asleep; wake up the next day; and at some point repeat the process all over again–“day after day”–for who knows how long. Why? “To see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth”!
Commendably, there is no indication that Paul took umbrage with the Beroeans as they validated the truth of his words. He didn’t take it personally; neither did it matter to him that he did more than all the other apostles–and that he possessed the God-given ability to resurrect. (1 Corinthians 15:9-11; Acts 20:7-12) If the apostle Paul got checked, Michael felt today’s Governing Body certainly isn’t above scrutiny. The Gloved One reasoned that only good can come from such an examination. Indeed, in the case of the Beroeans, not only did Jews convert to Christianity, but so did a number of “reputable” Greek women and men. (Acts 17:12, New World Translation) Be that as it may, this begs the question: Did they still search the Scriptures “day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” AFTER becoming Christians?
They did if they followed Paul’s inspired admonition to all spirit-anointed Christians found at 1 Thessalonians 5:21 where it says to “test everything that is said” (NLT); or, “examine everything carefully” (International Standard Version); or, simply stated, “prove everything.” (King James Version) This was in perpetuity, for Paul later encouraged anointed Christians in Corinth: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith. Keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NWT) In the spirit of spiritual testing a sincere apostle Paul wrote: “As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, 6, NLT) First-century Christian leaders welcomed close scrutiny; and, significantly, the last apostle encouraged it.
Testing the “Inspired Expression”: Frankly and pointedly, decades after Paul wrote what he did on the matter, the inspired apostle John cautioned: “Do not believe every inspired expression.” And, regardless of the source, he commanded Christians to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1, NWT) How? By doing as the Beroeans did; by measuring any message supposedly originating from God against “the pattern of healthful words,” the totality of his universal, infallible, Word of Truth, the Holy Bible.–1 Timothy 1:13, NWT.
In short, Michael felt that his personal relationship with Jehovah was not predicated on how the Governing Body viewed him. “They didn’t hire me,” he said in effect, “so they can’t fire me.” (John 6:44) Still, the Governing Body has done incomparable good. But, does it make the grade? Part 3 comes next!